Are Parents Tutoring Pre-K Kids Pushing Too Hard?

Sasha Brown-Worsham

These days parents will really do anything to give their kid a leg up on admissions and school. This includes taking them to regular tutoring so they can learn to read, do multiplication, and spell all before they even enter kindergarten. It's madness.

A recent article in The New York Times talked about parents in Manhattan who take their children to Kumon to be tutored so they can learn early and fast and be ahead a grade level before they even start school. But the worksheets, time commitment, and homework are so intense that 3- and 4-year-olds are doing that instead of doing fun experiments in the kitchen or playing at the park.

Does that seem wrong to anyone else?

In fact, the research doesn't even support this idea. Young children learn about math from helping Daddy bake a cake, and they learn about reading and writing from being cuddled in Mommy's lap while she reads to them. Any illusion of superiority is just that: an illusion.

Playing IS learning. It seems like so many parents are resistant to this idea, but it's the truth. When children are in the park playing with sand and measuring out the water to put in their buckets and throwing balls in the air to watch them come down, they are learning and growing and becoming the adults they will eventually become.

Childhood is such a brief moment in time, a blink really. The babies we love so much become toddlers before our eyes and then pre-schoolers. It's all a moment in time, and if we're pushing them into the next level, we aren't allowing them to really enjoy the one they're in at the time they're in it.

If what we want to do is foster a lifelong love of learning (the assumed goal), then forcing learning on them and forcing them to grow up too fast isn't going to do it. If your child wants to read, then let them learn. But if he wants to play, let him do that. It all goes so fast. He will be reading soon enough.

Do you push your kids toward academic success?

Image via Paul Schultz/Flickr

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